Friday, April 12, 2024

114 West Elm Street
Graham, NC 27253
Ph: 336.228.7851

The Alamance News has a long-standing history of fairness and equal treatment toward the local black community


Of all the rhetorical flourishes, exaggerations, and even falsehoods that Rev. Greg Drumwright of Greensboro has pronounced, none is as offensive, wrong-headed, or without any basis in fact as his unsubstantiated claim that this newspaper is one “that disparages people of color,” as he told a small gathering of supporters at Morgantown Baptist Church Thursday night.

Drumwright also claimed, in announcing a possible threat to boycott the newspaper’s advertisers, that “most of [the newspaper’s] clients, most of their customers are poor African-Americans.”

In this regard, he merely exaggerates. We have no reason to believe that “most” of our readers are black, nor that those who are black are “poor.” We don’t collect information on either race or wealth, but both are contrary to simple observation.

Our black readers are, in fact, a valued component of our readership and have been for many years. More on that in a moment.

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But what is especially galling to us is that as a result of his present displeasure, the reverend would attempt to cast a wide net of accusation against a newspaper that, in fact, actually has more than a half-century’s long reputation for fairness, straightforward reporting, and equal treatment of both leaders and ordinary citizens within the black community of Alamance County, as well as of citizens and leaders of all other races, ethnicities, political parties, or philosophical dispositions.

Members of the Boney family have owned this newspaper since 1956.

And the paper has usually been loved and disliked over this time period for the same reason: we don’t play favorites. Everyone is treated alike. Studiously so.

We note, as an example, that the black church that hosted Drumwright’s meeting Thursday night, Morgantown Baptist Church, has often used this newspaper’s columns to publicize to the general public and its members special events, speakers, Sunday morning services, and we’ve been glad to receive them and publish those — and will continue to be pleased to do so.

When important businessmen, wealthy country club members, or powerful politicians (in all three categories, historically, most often white) wanted to have their unflattering information (such as speeding tickets or alleged crimes by themselves or family members or the resulting court coverage) omitted from the newspaper, these overtures have been universally rejected.

Consequently, the newspaper has developed a reputation for “telling it like it is.” As a result, the paper has been particularly popular over the past six decades among working-class people, farmers, and in the black community – precisely because they recognize that everyone is getting the same, equal treatment.

All are treated the same in news coverage, as well as in service issues dealing with subscriptions, missed papers (those do happen occasionally), submitted news articles, feature stories, honors, awards, and recognitions.

In these high-tech days, it perhaps seems a bit quaint and antiquated, but one of the staples for weekly newspapers in those decades was to have “country correspondents,” who would report each week on the goings on in their mostly rural communities. Eli Whitney, Snow Camp, and Pleasant Hill were among the far flung southern Alamance communities with such regular correspondents.

But also present during those years in The Alamance News was a weekly report on “Negro Community News,” prepared by Mrs. T.J. Poole of Graham. News on black clubs, church news, and recognitions was often included – even when some people probably didn’t think it should be.

Throughout the turbulent years of the 1950’s and 1960’s and early 1970’s, during much of the Civil Rights era in particular, the newspaper was well known to provide fair coverage, equal and respectful treatment, and include interviews with and provide the positions of black leaders during the desegregation discussions. W.I. Morris and Plese Corbett were two of those respected black leaders from that era whose names are frequent in our archives.

The newspaper’s reputation for fairness in the black community was so widely known locally that the standing instructions for many years during at least the 1970’s, 1980’s, and 1990’s from NAACP presidents and other black leaders was to send any black person with a complaint about unfair or discriminatory treatment, particularly in the public arena, to The Alamance News, where the newspaper would typically look into their allegations and report on what was found.

The newspaper has had excellent contacts and relationships with black political leaders, elected and appointed, as well as candidates, over many decades. They receive the same fair and unbiased coverage as white politicians.

Indeed, part of the march organizer’s dissatisfaction with the newspaper apparently stems from precisely the characteristic that has made the paper popular in the black community in the first place. We don’t play favorites.

Not among races, classes, or other subgroups. And not even between members of the same race, class, or other subgroup.

So when one prominent member of the local black community, such as former NAACP president Michael Graves, has something to say about Drumwright, we interviewed him and printed an account of his critique.

Graves, himself, has been the subject of the newspaper’s investigations and coverage in the past, the results of which have not always been flattering. Our objective is not to flatter, but to report.

We’ve covered Drumwright’s press conferences, marches, and rallies. And we’ve done so fairly and objectively.

In fact, he seems to have neglected to note that one of our reporters was even arrested while covering one of his events (on October 31), his march to and rally at the courthouse.
But apparently our news coverage has been too objective, failing to fawn over him as he prefers – and, quite frankly, as he seems to have come to expect from some other elements of the media.

We don’t mind Drumwright having his own opinion about this newspaper, but we’ll challenge him anytime and every time he attempts to claim we’ve treated him, or anyone else in Alamance County’s black community, unfairly or with some form of discrimination.
We don’t, we haven’t, and we have a 64 year track record to demonstrate it.

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